The lead story on the Daily Mail this morning is of a tragic death of a teenager. It’s an awful, horrible thing, and my heart goes out to the family and everyone involved. I’ve got a little boy, and just the thought of him ever coming to any harm makes me well up.
That’s not the focus of the story. The story’s about the evils of mature videogames: in this case, Call of Duty. I’m not going to link to it.
Can we just stop this.
How despicable do you have to be to turn an awful and tragic death into a frontpage story designed to whip up hate and bile?
The facts, as reported by the Daily Mail, are, that Callum Green, a 14 year old boy was discovered hanged in his bedroom from a bunkbed. He’d been grounded, had talked of running away with his girlfriend to have a baby, and had just had a row with his family. He’d been playing on his PC, but no-one really knows if he’d been playing Call of Duty, or if he’d been on Facebook or Youtube.
Callum liked playing Call of Duty, so the Daily Mail get to use it as a stone to throw at the videogame industry.
No-one at the Daily Mail gives a shit about videogames, and they don’t give a shit about Call of Duty, and I'd bet my last pound they don’t give a shit about Callum Green and his family. What they do give a shit about is the clicks and pageviews that appear when you smoosh a possible teenage suicide together with one of the world’s most popular pieces of entertainment
But they don’t limit their story to the news of the dead boy. They attempt to connect convicted, psychopathic monsters - detailing how Anders Brevik and Mohammed Merah also played CoD.
Why does that matter? Why is it important?
An absolutely awful thing happened. By a tenuous, brief association, the editors at the Daily Mail get to turn their hateful gaze on the world I love, just because ‘fuck it pageviews’. This is disgusting behaviour. Their job isn’t to report the truth or to be factual. It’s to manufacture hatred and bile; then wedge it between ads for groceries and cheap loans.
Tomorrow, the story will have vanished, and the parasites at the Mail will have moved on. But the world will be slightly worse because of what the Mail did today.